Man Sentenced to Prison for Hate Crime After Arson of Queer Seattle Nightclub
A Washington man accused of arson is facing jail time for committing a hate crime after targeting Queer/Bar, an LGBTQ nightclub in Seattle.
Kalvinn Garcia, 26, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in federal court to serve four years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week. Garcia admitted he targeted Queer/Bar because he was angered after discovering a sign that said "queer," ultimately setting fire to a dumpster in the alley directly behind the venue on February 24th, 2020.
The investigation was carried out by the FBI Seattle Field Office and Seattle Police Department. According to court documents, Garcia told police, "I think it's wrong that we have a bunch of queers in society."
Garcia, who was arrested minutes after igniting the blaze, told a stranger weeks later that he intended to "trap and hurt the people inside" Queer/Bar. There were over 100 people inside the club at the time of the incident.
"Mr. Garcia endangered the lives of more than 100 people because of his hatred for members of our LGBTQI+ community," said Tessa M. Gorman, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington. "We work diligently with our federal, state and local partners to investigate and prosecute acts of hatred against people because of their sexuality or gender identity. This work is a priority because the effect of these hate crimes can linger in communities and traumatize the members of the targeted community for weeks, months or years after."
Garcia will also be subjected to three years of supervised release upon the conclusion of his sentence, per the U.S. Attorney's Office.